Aston Villa 3 Blackburn 0

The game could have started on a bad note for Villa when Peter Enckelman was slow with his clearance, which cannoned against Dwight Yorke and only just went wide of the post.

Villa certainly capitalised upon this incident as in the second minute they took the lead. David Thompson conceded a foul on Gareth Barry and from Joey Gudjonsson's free-kick Dublin headed past a flat-footed Brad Friedel at the far post.

Blackburn struggled to get their game together following their surprise defeat at the hands of struggling West Ham. Yorke and Andy Cole made little impact against Olof Mellberg and Ronnie Johnsen.

With Gudjonsson a little dynamo in midfield Villa gave Blackburn little space in which to build any attacks.

Darius Vassell was also a live-wire operating in a wide role down the left and Martin Taylor was given a harrowing time attempting to keep him in check.

The tactic worked well for Villa as it obviously created more space for Dublin to exploit as he demonstrated for the second time in the game with his second goal five minutes before the break.

Following a corner, Johnsen played a short ball to Barry who nudged a pass into the path of Dublin to score with a bobbling left footed shot into the corner of the net for his 14th goal of the season.

Villa made a lively start to the second half with young Stefan Moore showing some clever work before firing just wide.

Vassell demonstrated his danger down the left with another fast raid which ended with the England firing in a powerful drive which Friedel could only parry.

As Villa dropped back to protect their lead Blackburn were able to show more menace but they still lacked the finishing flair as neither Yorke or Cole were provided with any kind of service.

Barry, who had not previously scored for two seasons, obtained his second goal in successive games when he coolly fired home Villa's third goal in the 81st minute following an astute pass from substitute Ulises De la Cruz.